The Rhode Island Senate on Tuesday unanimously passed a bill that will allow public school students to have access to menstrual products for free.
The bill says that public schools who teach grades five through 12 must provide pads and tampons in gender-neutral and women’s bathrooms beginning in the 2022-2023 school year at no cost to students.
It will now go to Rhode Island Governor Daniel McKee’s desk to either be vetoed or signed into law.
State Senator Valerie Lawson, who sponsored the bill, said in a statement, “We all know how necessary feminine hygiene products are, but what many people do not realize… is that a lack of access to these products can cause students to miss crucial school days.”
On Twitter, State Representative Carol Hagan McEntree, a sponsor of the House bill, said, “This bill will prevent the embarrassment suffered by our students who have an accident during the school day and afford them the dignity that they deserve.”
Other states, such as California, Illinois, New Hampshire, and New York have also passed legislation requiring public schools to offer free period products to students.
“These products are a daily necessity to so many students,” Lawson said, “and just as schools provide toilet paper for the bathrooms, these products should also be readily accessible for our students in need.”
Sources: Rhode Island Senate 6/29/21; CNN 6/29/21; US News 6/26/21; Twitter 6/25/21